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Courage and Heroism

Neil Jopson

Author: Neil Jopson

In The Siege of Laronto there are a lot of great courageous characters. What was your inspiration for creating the main characters in this story?

I used a collection of different historical characters as my starting point, and then added my interpretation of them. Mathilda was a mixture of Elizabeth I and Boudica, as well as a couple of strong females whom I know! If I’m honest, I have had a lot more ideas for her character development, which I hope to follow through in the sequels.

The knights and baron were based on a collection of knights who were gallivanting around during the middle ages, particularly influenced by the Crusades. The king of Valecia, as well as the archbishop and merchants were influenced by the age of Spanish exploration and the Conquistadors. I hope that a sense of greed and intrigue came through in those passages. Wirlwin is more of a Marco Polo character, as will become clear in the next book, which follows the events of his next mission.

Juan was probably my favourite character. He took the role of the ordinary person in history, one who is as every bit as courageous as the ‘great’ men and women, but is often forgotten in the retelling of the story. It was a very deliberate decision to make him a member of the original inhabitants of the island.

Why did you want this story to circle around the siege of this one city? How did it play into the development of the characters?

Laronto itself was based on Lanzarote (you can see where the name came from!) in the Canary islands; a volcanic island with a history of eruptions. The sieges of Rhodes and Malta were used as templates for the action. I hoped to create an intense atmosphere, where not only the lives of the protagonists were threatened, but also their entire way of life. Hence the desperate decision to send Wirlwin to Valecia.

 The Siege of Laronto, I felt, was about death, honor, and war. What is one thing that you hope readers take away from the story?

In the age of the anti-hero, I would like to think that I have shown to some extent that courage and heroism do not spring fully formed from an individual; but are created by our reaction to events as they occur. There is also an attempt to show how honour is a subject thing, and it can be gained, lost, and regained by individuals.

What authors or stories served as your inspiration in creating The Siege of Laronto?

The most influential author on me for this book was probably Louis de Wohl. He’s somewhat out of fashion at the moment, but his potrayal of action and the idea of ‘chivalry’ did have some influence on the approach I took.

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The Siege of LarontoThe mighty Slavodorian army stands ready to wipe the small barony of Laronto from the face of the earth. Baron Trosh and his daughter Mathilda attempt to rally their forces before the invasion, even though they know it to be hopeless. Can Wirlwin bring help through his secret mission to the King of Valecia, or will traitors and jealousy doom Laronto from within before the fighting even starts? Meet knights and Barons, heroic peasants and treacherous servants as they fight to survive in the onslaught of the Storm of the Nations.

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The Siege of Laronto

The Siege of Laronto3 StarsThe Siege of Laronto by Neil Jopson is a fictional story of the destruction of a country called Laronto, and the events leading up to it. The city prepared for battle and would have to use their wits to prevent the overtaking of Laronto by the Slavodorians. Gathering all the resources and manpower they could, while hoping for assistance from Valecia, they made plans to thwart the efforts of the Slavodorians and consistently failed against the large army. Interlocked with a love story, the Siege of Laronto featured, the Baron Trosh, Mathilda, Sir Gwent, Sir Walter, Juan along with other brave souls who would fight to defend their city and lives against someone they would least expect.

A story of death, dishonor, war and survival is an accurate description of The Siege of Laronto. The destruction of Palmopelle, marked the beginning of dread for the people of Laronto. As they scampered about getting together an armed force, they went into overdrive producing weapons for war. From the beginning of the story themes of fear emerged, as well as that of survival. As the Baron of Laronto gave asylum to survivors of Palmopelle, his daughter Mathilda assisted their knight; Sir Walter, and finds herself being enlightened of his sense of loss; a theme identifiable throughout the entire book.

Surrounded by uncertainty and fear, families like those of Juan and Sarah found themselves being summoned from the town’s outskirts into the city. Everyone would gather there as they prepared to put up defenses against the Slavodorian army. All focus was on the impending war and how they could avert it and so Laronto faced much displacement. The city overflowed with people who had made their way into the town for refuge, but pride and jealousy would find its way into their preparations, and a fight for honor would be the distraction that would cost Laronto dearly.

The tirade began. No sooner had the honor duel started had the Slavodorians set up camp on the beach by the Gracian harbour. Sir Gwent rallied his men and took to the Gracian and that is where the war unfolded. Bulsvark was the enemy and he barked orders as did Sir Gwent, sending soldiers into a battle of epic proportions. However despite all their efforts, the Slavodorians were far greater prepared for this battle and Sir Gwent and his men were captured and are now at the mercy of Malksard, the Slavodorian general.

The days seemed to get shorter as the Slavodorians came closer to the city and Baron Trosh was running out of ideas. Lucian and Master Whirlwin navigated the seas on the Mermaid on a journey to Valecia for help. Sir Walter now tasked with leading the remaining soldiers and Laronto into safety as the Slavodorians drew even nearer. His love story faded as quickly as it started, it seemed rushed and not very engaging.

Their remaining journey would encompass conquer and defeat as they stood without the help of Valecia, yet they were persistent, even as the walls closed in. In what would seem like the final hour, many brave had fallen but what seemed like the end was only the beginning. Overall the Siege of Laronto is a story that describes just that, it was an interesting read that fell short of a love story.

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Pages: 142 | ISBN: 1505342023

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